Phillips, Ex-Hart Park Boss, Honored During ‘Silents’ Benefit
Story by Patti Rasmussen
Norm Phillips, until recently the superintendent of William S. Hart Regional County Park in Newhall, was honored Saturday night for more than 30 years of exemplary service.
At the Silents Under the Stars fundraiser, hosted by the Friends of Hart Park, Phillips received praise from the county and city officials who applauded his devotion to the park.
Calling it a bittersweet night, 5th District Supervisor Kathryn Barger said Phillips enhanced every structure of Hart Park during his tenure, improved the safety of the animals in residence, and established great programs for the community to enjoy.
“Norm has been the backbone of (L.A. County) Parks and Recreation,” Barger said. “He is more than an employee, and when you have a passion for what you do, it shows. His vision and leadership engrains the spirit of Bill Hart.”
Santa Clarita Mayor pro-tem Laurene Weste, president of the Friends of Hart Park, presented Phillips with a custom-made branding iron with the “WSH” logo (for William S. Hart). Phillips became the second recipient of the special lifetime achievement award; the first was former Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.
Recalling the history they shared as the city and county worked together to make improvements to Hart Park, Weste said she has seen Phillips do amazing things.
“He could have been Bill Hart’s son, for all the work he’s done around here,” she said.
More than 200 people attended the Silents Under the Stars event. A 20-year tradition at Hart Park, this year’s benefit was organized by Sherron Blowers and her volunteer committee, and emceed by “SCV in the Movies” hosts Bill West and E.J. Stephens.
After enjoying a barbecue dinner and a performance by the Saguaro Sisters with Will Ryan, guests settled in to watch the 1919 silent classic, “Wagon Tracks,” starring Bill Hart and Jane Novak. Ray Lowe created and performed a soundtrack for the movie.
Newhall residents Bob and Teresa Todd attended the event for the first time.
“The evening was a step back in time for us to a simpler era that celebrated the gathering of neighborly friends, good eats and rustic charm,” Teresa Todd said. “It was a perfect venue to honor the man who was a celebrity for the Santa Clarita Valley and who did so much for his craft.”
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